fbpx
Bowlus JohnLong HelenaMitchell 1

Behind The Adventurer: Helena Mitchell

On our new series Behind The Adventurer, we interview those who inspire us to take to the open road. In celebration of Mother’s Day, this week I will be interviewing my mother Helena Mitchell. Helena runs our sales team, and you probably recognize her as the friendly voice on the other side of the telephone. If you haven’t met her yet, drop us a line. She would love to chat about why a Bowlus Road Chief would be perfect for you and always has special tips and tricks to offer to make your Road Chief adventures unique and special.

Let’s get started:

Geneva Long: What three words would you use to describe your travel philosophy?

Helena Mitchell: To travel thoughtfully. I’m always inspired and refreshed by land travel. What does that mean to me? I love to start with a plan. That means to me stopping when the mood strikes,  eating well, sleeping soundly. And most importantly no rushing.

GL: How do you incorporate your travel philosophy into everyday life?

HM: I love travel journals and beautiful landscape photography online and on Instagram. They allow you to slip away for a few moments and dream of “where’s next?” Being organized so having a spot where I can tuck away a list, an interesting thought or note that later encourages what could be – I love.  And I like keeping a record of those fabulous spots you never want to forget (but I do) and want to return to is nice, so John and I aren’t trying to reach back attempting to remember “where was that place, we got those amazing eggs?”.

I’m right now I’ve been playing with a digital travel journal options like Day One, and am interested in the video/photo power of Polarsteps. If someone reading has a recommendation, please let me know!

GL: How do you strike a balance between adventure and relaxation?

HM: Let’s be real; I’m at the age where bouldering is out of the question. So for me, adventure is relaxation. It might start with a fantastic hike in a State or National park. Then discovering a small town with an incredible coffee spot and then chat with some locals that are doing something that gets us inspired to later talk about new ideas and trends. I love that so much of our traveling provides conversation starters along with glue that keeps us together.  

GL: One thing you can’t travel without?

HM: A Bowlus Road Chief. It’s true. Like many of our owners we’ve been fortunate to travel the world; however, I don’t find air travel as compelling as it once was. I love traveling America and Canada (and hopefully soon Mexico)  in incredible comfort while discovering sweet finds. I enjoy having the food I enjoy, a bed that guarantees me a good night sleep, a good shower and a “place” for everything – truly brings me joy!

GL: Who is your go-to travel buddy?

HM: It previously was our sweet, dear Dotty girl. She was our Portuguese Water Dog who was the best company anyone could ever ask for. She passed last fall after 14 wonderful years together with a send out on a beach in Malibu surrounded by love and her favorite treat of bananas. So now it’s often just John and I. They say opposites attract and John hates a plan. So it’s always an interesting balance when we travel.  It has taken years but now we usually agree at lunch we’ll decide where we will stop for the night (instead of at 8 PM) and we try never to drive past 4 PM so we can get in his walking miles to continue his journey with heart health. Traveling is about compromise and discovery and if your travel buddy is open to those two concepts you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time!

GL: Favorite snack on the road?

HM: I love, love, love to have an assortment of excellent cheese, fruit, nuts, vegetables along with hummus and crackers for a stop along the way.

GL: The soundtrack of your travels?

HM: Music connects me to the people in my life. I like it when my travel mate picks the tunes. So when I’m out with Geneva, it’s a reflection of her interests, and when I’m out with John, it’s his. When I’m alone, it can run from talk radio to CBC (if I want to catch the Canadian vibe) to the latest hits.

GL: How do you start planning your next trip?

HM: I’ve always got a handful in the hopper.  I like being ready with a few possible agendas so if we can grab the time we go.  So if you called and said let’s get going this afternoon, I’d be ready. That means that I’ll stock it with small luxuries like fresh Road Chief bed linens, a good book, hiking gear and a bottle of wine or my favorite tea and gluten-free cookies.

GL: What does a typical day of road tripping look like for you?

HM: I love having a cup of tea in bed to start the day. It makes me feel like I’m at the Four Seasons on wheels while I consider the day which usually includes a simple breakfast,  a hike, a rest and then a fun activity for the afternoon. Dinner can be anything thing to something insanely good we prepare ourselves, to finding a fantastic a local restaurant. I’m a reformed night owl, so now I am enjoying going to bed early so I can catch the sunrise through our Road Chief’s “eyes.” That’s the definition of a wonderful day!

GL: Most epic to you, road trip route?

HM: I can rhyme off the greats, and they have been truly awe-inspiring. They took us on adventures and experiences I could have never imagined like the Dempster Highway and any trip along the coast of Canada and the USA. I love how magical moments can also happen when it’s least expected. I was driving with our son across the country when we stopped late one Friday night on Route 66 exhausted and hungry. We happened upon a burger stop with fantastic food and DJ playing country from his phone with a speaker. Just 30 people out for milkshakes joyfully two-stepping around the picnic tables. It’s what I love about traveling.

GL: Where is your happy place?

HM: It’s a Road Chief. When I’m on our adventures, I love how the Road Chief offers everything we need. So easy and so fun. I also love seeing how it has transformed our lives and the lives of our owners and future owners as they make their purchasing decision. It is truly a privilege when people share their hopes and dreams with you. How they choose to create their lives is truly inspiring.

GL: Next road trip you are dreaming of

HM: So many. Winter in Yosemite. Revisiting the National Park locations of photographers like the Kolb brothers, Ansel Adams and Stephen Shore to be inspired to shoot more photography even if it’s only on my phone. A way back tour of 1982 (it was an insane year). Top of my “dream”  list is probably Ireland and Scotland in a Road Chief.

GL: If you stop at just one place, go here:

HM: I will somewhat embarrassingly share my secret and long obsession that started in 1994 for mini horses. There are mini horse farms you can visit, and they make my day! If you have one that’s your favorite, please let me know.

GL: One piece of advice you would share with travelers?

HM: Buy your Road Chief and start your adventures today! One thought I come back to lately almost daily is how time is rarely valued despite it being one of our most precious non-renewable resources. Until late, I always thought there was an endless supply.  After all, it seemed I could create more simply by staying up later and multi-tasking more. But living that way never created more happiness with the small exception of occasionally getting ahead on a never-ending “to do” list. So lately I’ve been more focused on what can bring more happiness. Nothing I love more than helping people get on the path to more adventures and love the rewards of joy, fun and love it creates in their lives.  For me, those feelings created in adventures are always “time best spent.”

varun yadav 1509347 unsplash

One Day In Zion National Park

Described as “an oasis amidst the desert,” Zion has amazing vermilion cliffs and incredibly green lush valleys. With world famous hiking, there are so many rewarding experiences to undertake. Zion is located conveniently next to the Utah town of Springdale and the shuttle goes to town making it easy to enjoy the amazing local services. Consider visiting in spring or fall as summer can be very hot.

Do
The Narrows (Bottom Up)
We stopped by Zion Outfitter for equipment rentals. The hike is a 3-10 miles round trip taking 4-8 hours. No permit required, be prepared to get wet.

Stay
Watchman Campground
Located very close to the south entrance with electrical hookups available year-round. Very close to the shuttle stop for access to the park during peak months and weekends.

Drive
Zion National Park Scenic Drive
Gorgeous 54 miles route taking about 1.5 hours Please note it is closed to private vehicles while the shuttle is running.

Hike
Angels Landing
Best done first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat. During peak season, get on the first shuttle. Hike at your own risk. There are many other wonderful less challenging hikes in Zion.

Eat
The Spotted Dog Cafe
Cozy dining rooms with a handcrafted menu featuring local and sustainable produce.

Snack
Cafe Soleil
Amazing place to stop after hiking for snacks or a quick breakfast. Includes delicious vegan and vegetarian options as well.

Coffee
Deep Creek Coffee Co.
Located in Springdale on your way into our out of the park. Run by a couple with a passion for outdoor adventure (and of course coffee), they partner with local, small-batch roasters.

 
Please confirm with the NPS for any changes or closures before scheduling your trip.

Bowlus JohnLong GenevaLong 9049

Behind The Adventurer: John Long

The Return of The Road Trip

On our new series Behind The Adventurer, we interview those who inspire us to take to the open road. Who better to be our first interviewee than my father & business partner, John Long. There is nothing better in our opinion than being able to continue our shared passions of design, adventure travel and craftsmanship through our family business.

Let’s get started:

Geneva Long: What three words would you use to describe your travel philosophy?

John Long: Serendipitous, it’s a journey, not a destination, Impulsive.

 

GL: How do you incorporate your travel philosophy into everyday life?

JL: Travel is a break for me. It’s all in my desire to have a new experience, to meet new people, to see new locations. I like to live my plans wide open.

 

GL: How do you strike a balance between adventure and relaxation?

JL: I try for adventure but as I’m 65, I need to recharge along the way. I like to plan my days with our Road Chief as follows: exhaust myself with a 3 mile brisk walk in the morning and another 3 mile brisk walk or hike in the early evening and spend the rest of my time doing what I love. Last December I had some trouble with my heart and needed to have a stent put in, since then I have been working on building my strength over longer hikes and am happy to have worked up to 7 miles per day.

 

GL: One thing you can’t travel without?

JL: My camera. Shooting landscapes is one of my favorite aspects of travel. I shoot on a Sony Alpha 7riii with a 24-105mm F4 lens most of the time. This year for the holidays, I got a DJI Mavic Pro drone, which I have been loving.

 

GL: What book are you reading right now?

JL: My family comes from Iceland and there is nothing I love more than reading novels from Icelandic writers or Icelandic Sagas. I’m currently reading Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir.

 

GL: Who is your go to travel buddy?

JL: My go to travel buddy is my wife and business partner Helena Mitchell. She’s always up for any adventure. Recently, I’ve taken some very fun father-son trips with our son to share our passion of nature photography and videography. Having shared experiences together is really important so we can have time together.

 

GL: Favorite snack on the road?

JL: Granola or nut mixture that reminds me of my summers working for the BC Forest Service counting trees in Northern British Columbia and the Yukon and all the backpacking trips I took in my 20’s.

 

GL: Soundtrack of your travels?

JL: Sweet, sweet jazz. I also like listening to Radio Plays and Podcasts. My favorites are Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Saga Thing.

GL: How do you start planning your next trip?

JL: I don’t. Planning is overrated and with a Road Chief you don’t have to. I like to use my 30 minute scramble. To do this I: Pull up the Road Chief to our front door, Load what we need, empty the fridge of our home into the fridge in the Road Chief, fill up the water and simply go!

 

GL: What does a typical day of road tripping look like for you?

JL: I like to skip off early on a Friday afternoon and take as many small roads as a we can. I loved reading Blue HIghways for some inspiration while driving. I stop as many times as we wish, again my philosophy is on the journey not on the destination.

 

GL: Most epic to you, road trip route?

JL: When I was young, I loved reading the story of Zikmund and Hanzelka, two Czech engineers who drove across most of the world in a Tatra 87. When Helena and I retired (for the first time), we were looking to celebrate in a special way and reconnect with our children. I was inspired to take our 1947 Tatra T87 on a big trip around North America with our family and my best friend from 7th grade and his family. We called it the Three Ocean’s Tour and dipped the Tatra’s front tire in the three oceans surrounding North America, Atlantic, Pacific and most difficult Arctic Oceans. It was on this trip that Helena said to me “Wouldn’t this be better in a trailer?” and so I went to find our 1935 Bowlus Road Chief. It was the trip that started our obsession with the Bowlus Road Chief.

Helena and I are planning on re-doing the Three Ocean’s Tour and dipping in the back wheel of a Bowlus Road Chief to all three oceans again.

 

GL: Where is your happy place?

JL: The bedroom in our 1935 Bowlus Road Chief. I restored it by hand myself and every time I go inside it I’m overwhelmed with the feelings of what my family has devoted themselves to for the last 10 years and feel very lucky.

 

GL: Next road trip you are dreaming of?

JL: There are so many road trips left on my bucket list. There are two very special ones I will share with you. First, I would love to drive the ring road in Iceland with a Bowlus Road Chief. You could say this requires quite a bit more planning than my usual packing scramble but easily doable. Second, I’m inspired everyday by the trips I hear that our owners take in their Bowlus Road Chiefs. I would love do Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada in a Road Chief.

 

GL: If you stop at just one place, go here:

JL: Any Bureau of Land Management campsite. It fits perfectly with our travel philosophy and have enjoyed so many wonderfully serendipitous experiences while camping at these, meeting the most interesting people who share many of my passions. Geneva’s favorite camping location is a BLM site just four hours north of our workshop, so that is my favorite location for our family to go group camping together.

 

GL: One piece of advice you would share with travelers?

JL: See the country before you can’t. Don’t wait. There is nothing like a big health scare to make you realize just how little time you can have. For truly the first time in my life, I realize time is more precious, there is more reasons to celebrate the small things, more reasons to reconnect with family, more reasons to just say yes to something new and exciting. So every time I think dang I’m getting old, I make sure I go make more memories because you just never know when the fun might be over. With my renewed health I am so grateful and take nothing for granted anymore.

DSC00912

How to Enjoy a Weekend of Las Vegas’ Secret Hiking Scene

When people think of Las Vegas, the neon-soaked Strip and jingling of slot machines come to mind. But step just outside the city and there’s a trove of natural gems to be discovered.

You can also do all these trips with your Road Chief as well. Do you feel ready for an adventure? Head an hour east to the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive. The 13-mile drive includes a smattering of hike-able trails and (depending on the time of year) an abundance of wildflowers. Be sure to take it slow, because the road is one way—if you miss something, you won’t be able to turn around.

Then, cruise up to Mount Charleston for a hike. You can stop at Kyle Canyon Picnic Area along the way for a lunch prepared in your Road Chief’s galley, and then head off to either Fletcher Canyon or Mary Jane Falls. Ponderosa pines, white fir, aspen and mountain mahogany abound. You may even spot the rare Mt. Charleston blue butterfly and since it’s usually about 20 degrees cooler on Mt. Charleston its the perfect spot to escape the desert heat.

When you’re ready for a change of scenery, there are 40,000 acres of Aztec Sandstone waiting for you at the Valley of Fire National Park. Camp at Atlatl Rock Campground is on of our favorites. Many of the sites have electric and water hookups. From there, follow the road north to the ancient petroglyphs of Atlatl Rock. Continuing along the road, you’ll come to the Petrified Logs Loops trailhead, where the remnants of 225 million-year-old trees are visible. Moving deeper into the park, you’ll find trailheads for Mouse’s Tank, a natural basin containing more prehistoric petroglyphs, and Rainbow Vista, which offers a panoramic view of the park. The unmarked but spellbinding Pink Canyon is also worth visiting (coordinates: 36°28’47” N 114°31’36” W). Finish your exploration with an easy hike to the the jaw-dropping Fire Wave. These 150-million-year-old sand dunes have hardened into red and white zebra-striped rocks.

Spend the night in the park, and head out the next morning to Lake Mead. The striking landscape is a complete change of scenery from the red rocks of the Valley. Explore Hoover Dam, cruise along the scenic North Road and keep your eyes open for bald eagles and desert bighorn sheep.

Kind regards,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

Bowlus Redrock Cactus 6565

A Weekend Off-Grid in Prescott, Arizona

Prescott is a unique place. It’s a mixture of lively city and stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re drawn to the historic downtown or swaths of forest and lake, your Road Chief is the ideal guide to experiencing this southwestern gem.

So, where do you start? With a Harvest Host membership (tell them Bowlus Road Chief sent you for 10% off), there are a couple of farms in the Prescott area that are great for off grid camping. Members of RV Golf Club have options in the area as well. For boondocking, we recommend the primitive Cooper Basin sites. You can camp for up to a week there. This is perfect for our Endless Highways model, which can stay off grid for a week (a record-shattering amount of time).

There are plenty of farms in the Prescott area, so we encourage you to cook up a farm-fresh breakfast on the dual burners in the Road Chief’s galley. Then, head out for a morning hike. Prescott National Forest is a curious mix of desert and pine trees. It offers over 450 miles of hiking trails. Alternatively, you can hike around pine-crested Goldwater Lake or the sapphire waters of Watson Lake, which is located 4 miles outside of Prescott.

When you’ve had your nature fix, step back in time to the Old West. Downtown Prescott’s legendary Whiskey Row is lined with saloons, art galleries and old-fashioned candy stores. Food and drink options abound. For fine dining, we recommend The Peacock Dining Room at the Hassayampa Inn. Seafood lovers will find a bite of heaven at the historic Murphy’s: An Establishment of Good Taste.

Finish the evening off with a pint from the Prescott Brewing Company and then enjoy a restful night’s sleep in the Road Chief’s Libeco linens.

Explore on your terms,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

BowlusAvilaValley 00448

4 Immersive Food & Farm Tours

Nothing quite brings people together like food and travel. Combine those, and you have a recipe for real connection. As a result, food-and-drink-inspired adventures have a special place in our heart. This week we’re taking a look at five truly unique “farm tour” experiences to pair with your Bowlus Road Chief.

Moss Mountain Farm, Arkansas

Moss Mountain Farm is the Arkansas estate of landscape design expert and television host P. Allen Smith. He’s opened his home to the public. You can visit his vegetable garden, vibrant flower gardens, terraced gardens and many animals.

Smith has a gift for intertwining home and garden, as well as a passion for conservation. As a result, the guided tours often include a lunch chosen from Smith’s favorite earth-friendly recipes. Enjoy garden-inspired salads and seasonal dishes like buttermilk pecan pies with homemade whipped cream.

After an uplifting day at the Farm, you can retreat to the luxury of your Road Chief, perhaps with some fresh-picked veggies in hand for dinner (U-pick farms abound in Arkansas!). Cooking on the Road Chief’s dual burners is a treat, and we love incorporating local ingredients into our meals. We highly recommend camping at the stunning Maumelle Park. Snag a waterfront spot if you can. A web of hiking trails and bike paths are available for your enjoyment, as are gorgeous views of the Arkansas River.

The Living Farm, Colorado

The Cafe at the Living Farm calls itself “the ultimate farm to table restaurant,” and for good reason. The 132-acre farm has everything from GMO-free grains, a solar heated greenhouse, pastured lands for animals and exciting events like garden shows and workshops.

Everything they do is to promote an “organic lifestyle,” including their on-site restaurant. The menu features farm-fresh produce, organic meat and locally-sourced cheese and eggs. Enjoy a special day full of education and exploration, and then head over to Cottonwood Grove Campground for a delightful off gridding experience. Nestled in a grove of cottonwood trees, it’s the perfect place for a Road Chief. Scenic, secluded, special. And with a battery system that can last off grid for 4-7 days depending on your model, you can make the most of this unique location. Enjoy the toastiness of heated floors. With the Endless Highways, you don’t even need hookups to enjoy four hours of A/C!

Flavors of West Marin, California

Ready for an exceptional taste of Point Reyes? This epicurean tour will take you to seven food producers for a truly local experience. Sparkling honey wine. Wood-fired breads. BBQ oysters. You’ll enjoy everything from the famous cheese of Cowgirl Creamery to the water buffalo gelato of Marin Sun Farms. The tour’s owners are passionate about sustainability and organic food, so every place you visit contributes to a healthy food system and vibrant community. When you’ve had your fill, retreat back to the majestic redwoods of Samuel P. Taylor State Park. There are some great trails in the Park, so be sure to bring your mountain bikes along. They’re easy to store with our Road Chief’s lashing points!

Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm, Minnesota

Founded by a couple on a quest to share a special outdoor experience and grow agritourism in Waseca, Minnesota, the Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm brings together great company, amazing music and, of course, pizza. It’s a special dining experience. While there are a plethora of pizza possibilities, you’ll need to bring your own dining essentials–it’s a picnic! Pack the utensils, beverages and a table of blanket. This is so easy to do with a Road Chief, which has a kitchen, fridge and even an outdoor table. Explore the farm, listen to live music and enjoy brick oven pizzas made with farm-fresh ingredients.

Riverview Campground is just twenty minutes away and lives up to its name. It’s tucked right alongside the flowing Straight River and has full hookups. There are plenty of amenities, but you won’t need them. The Road Chief features a luxurious teak bathroom (and, for those with the Endless Highways, endless hot water!).

Travel should empower you to go where you please and guide you to the unique experiences you crave. Too often, this isn’t the case. Poor craftsmanship can limit the quality of your adventures. If you’re going to invest in an RV, you deserve something artisan-crafted that will last for a lifetime.

This is why we created the Bowlus Road Chief. Whether your trip is thoughtfully planned or simply spontaneous, it doesn’t have to be a hassle. With a Bowlus Road Chief, you can experience all our stunning country has to offer without ever leaving the comfort and luxury of home. Whether you love roughing it off grid or relaxing in at a farm with a glass of wine in hand, the Road Chief is the perfect guide to your best adventures yet.

Dine well,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

BowlusYellowFlowers3 9946 1

5 Places to See the 2019 Superbloom

Something magical is happening all over Southern California. Explosions of wildflowers are cropping up, thanks to the cool weather and above-average rainfall we received this winter. These blooms are as staggeringly beautiful as they are rare.

The hillsides of Lake Elsinore are currently blanketed in orange poppies, and although we can’t know exactly when and where the next wave of flowers will spring up, the Parks have made some educated guesses.

The best opportunities often come and go quickly; this superbloom season is no exception. The flowers began popping up in February and will likely continue through April. Go while they’re here! Whether you’re chasing the superbloom or a meteor shower, fleeting opportunities are easily captured with a Road Chief. One small adult can hitch it with ease. Ample storage space makes packing a breeze. Tow it with almost any crossover or SUV. Your very own mobile sanctuary allows you to travel wherever, in total luxury. You’ll never miss another spontaneous adventure opportunity. 

Such outings are also the perfect excuse (not that you needed one) for a picnic. With the Road Chief’s European dual burners and ample kitchen space, you can easily prepare breakfast or lunch to go, and enjoy a meal amid the flower fields.

Below you’ll find a solid leaping off point for your adventures, but you may also consider calling the Wildflower Hotline prior to your visit for the most up-to-date report.  

Lake Elsinore

Millions of orange poppies can be found on the slopes of Walker Canyon. Please note that since poppies are the State flower, it is illegal to pick them. Be respectful, and don’t lay on or trample the flowers. As for camping, consider the peaceful Crane Lakeside Park. If you don’t mind a bit of a drive (about 45 minutes) look into this amazing Hipcamp site—a family-run clydesdale and Texas longhorn ranch.

Diamond Valley Lake

Only forty minutes from Lake Elsinore is Diamond Valley Lake, which features a seasonal wildflower trail. For a $10 entrance fee, you’ll see magnificent owl’s clover, the iconic California poppy, sunshine yellow brittlebush and more. The reservoir’s substantial trail system is available for all kinds of recreation, and the marina is a world class fishery. Best of all, you can camp at Bierbaum Pepper Farm and play with baby goats.

Anza-Borrego State Park

This may be one of the most stunning destination of the season. Sprawling Anza-Borrego State Park is a mosaic right now. At Coyote Creek you’ll find the purple stalks of sand verbena, brown-eyed evening primroses, brilliant lupine and more. To enhance the experience, we recommend taking the scenic route from San Diego. Check the CA State Park website for campsite reservations.

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Antelope Valley is predicted to peak in mid-March to early April. Not just limited to poppies, the park comes alive with kaleidoscope colors, boasting everything from owl’s clover and lupine to cream cups and coreopsis. Note that there are rattlesnakes in the fields. Be sure to stay on the trails and leave Fido in the Road Chief with air conditioning because no dogs are allowed in the park. Fortunately, there are great campgrounds nearby like this free site at Lake Hughes. Or head over to Saddleback Butte, which sits on a granite mountain top above Antelope Valley and is likewise crowned with wildflowers.

Carrizo Plain National Monument

This hidden-gem Monument is so remote some say you can “hear the silence.” In 2017, it’s hillsides were painted with gold and purple flowers—so many that the swathes of color could be seen from outerspace. We don’t know whether the Plain will superbloom this year, but the hills are definitely seeing some color. Goldfields around Panorama Road and hillside daisies on the slopes and valley floors.

Carrizo Plain is in San Luis Obispo, which is worth a trip in and of itself. Check out this post to find out where to stay and how to spend a weekend in SLO. Just add wildflower viewing to the itinerary!

Bloom,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

Screen Shot 2019 03 06 at 9.41.24 AM

One Day Off-Grid in Paso Robles

Want to know one of California’s best kept secrets? We’ll give you a hint: it lies halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is home to over 200 wineries and its name means “Pass of the Oaks.” If you haven’t been to Paso Robles, you’re missing out. The splendid hills of the Central Coast will welcome you with hills that are every bit as vibrant as their history, and despite the city’s size, it retains small-town vibes–you’ll feel right at home, especially with your Bowlus Road Chief to camp in. We know we did.

We recommend staying at the Stacked Stone Cellars. You’ll need a Harvest Host membership in order to stay at this location, but it’s worth it (tell them Bowlus Road Chief sent you for 10% off). Not only is the cost of an annual membership about the same as the cost to stay at an RV park for a single night, but Stacked Stone Cellars is charming. If you go at the right time, you’ll see them bottling the wine. Nestled in the eponymous stacked stone landscape, the Cellars is a sustainable vineyard that produces small quantities of handcrafted Zinfandel. You can enjoy a tasting with the owner, Donald, on the weekends or during the week by appointment.

Just a short way up Peachy Canyon Road is another winery, Calcareous Vineyard. In addition to its awe-inspiring vista, it offers a selection of world-class blends and varietal wines. Take an Uber, and then you can ride into town for restaurants and more tasting rooms. Here are a few places we recommend:

Il Cortile Ristorante – Rustic Italian fine dining with a menu that changes seasonally and incorporates both local ingredients.

BL Brasserie (formerly Bistro Laurent) – Relaxed and elegant French cuisine with an oyster bar.

Thomas Hill Organics – Imaginative entrees created from fresh and regionally-sourced ingredients.

Herman Story – A boutique tasting room with industrial decor, a sense of humor and big-bodied fruit-forward wines.

Bodegas – A tasting room specializing in Portuguese and Spanish varietals.

LXV Wines – A highly-regarded tasting room with brilliant Indian pairings.

Justin Vineyards, and The Restaurant at Justin – Justin also has a downtown tasting room, and their vineyard is particularly popular.

While you could spend the entire weekend tasting your way through wineries, distilleries and breweries, Paso Robles has even more to offer. In recent years, it’s become an olive oil mecca. Enjoy tastings and tours at any of the many orchards, or head to We Olive in downtown to sample olive oils from multiple orchards. Be sure to check out the renowned hot sulfur springs, the waters of which are rumored to have healing powers. Paso Robles also has an incredible music scene. Vina Robles is a boutique amphitheater that features world-renowned artists as well as a tasting room (of course).

Your Road Chief is just what you need to wind down at the end of the day. Kick back and read a book. Stream a movie. Enjoy a little decaf that you whip up in the galley. After your epicurean adventures, you can return to your mobile sanctuary, crank up the heated floors and snuggle down into the organic Libeco linens. The perfect weekend getaway? We think so, because Paso Robles and the Bowlus Road Chief go together like wine and chocolate.

Indulge,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

slo

One Day Off-Grid in San Luis Obispo

Nestled in the heart of California is laidback San Luis Obispo. Affectionately dubbed “SLO Cal,” it’s a place that champions rest and recreation. Inhale the crisp coastal air, savor local flavors, lounge on the beach and drink in a beautiful view. San Luis Obispo is the perfect place to catch your breath and escape from the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life.

We highly recommend staying at Canyon Fruit Ranch. The oak-crowned hills and 100 year-old apple tree orchard is a spectacular place for a campsite—and a Road Chief prepared breakfast under the awning. From baby goats and fresh autumn apples to the winery that’s just thirty seconds down the road, Canyon Fruit Ranch is a destination unto itself. It’s also a great leaping off point for your adventures.

Only thirty minutes away from the campsite is the seaside fishing village Morro Bay. There, you can kayak with sea otters and sea lions. You’ll also find urban delights like local craft brews, wine bars, boutiques and more. We recommend dining at the Blue Sky Bistro on the Bay, which, in addition to offering a distinctive palate of fresh seafood, sandwiches and all-day breakfast, is dog-friendly! Whether or not you bring your furry companion, consider want to sitting on the patio anyway, since that will give you a view of Morro Rock.

Head back toward San Luis Obispo, where you can either do some more exploring (museums, public art installations, the bizarre Bubblegum Alley) or hit Bob Jones Bike Trail. This city to sea bike trail starts right near the 101 and cruises all the way to Avila Beach. To get there, exit US101 at Avila Beach and turn toward Ontario Road. Head past the KOA campground and you’ll see a parking lot off to the right where you can park the Road Chief. On your bikes, you can follow the trail to the corner of First Street and Avila Beach Drive (downtown). It’s easy to store your bikes in the Road Chief, but if you would rather rent, Wally’s Bike Rentals and Joe Momma’s Beachstay Bike Rentals are downtown. You can follow the trail back up toward the city, and end your ride at Avila Hot Springs.

After a full day of exploration, you’ll be glad to come back to your cozy Road Chief at the campsite. Canyon Fruit Ranch is located in a zero light pollution zone. If your trip takes place when the moon is new, gibbous or crescent, be sure to bring your binoculars and starchart to make the most of this stargazer’s paradise. The skies will be clearest when the air is cold and crisp. The Road Chief, of course, will be waiting for you with heated floors, an endless hot water shower and cozy Libeco linens. It’s a splendid ending to a splendid day.

Enjoy the SLO life,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

vi nowak 625308 unsplash

A Day Off-Grid at White Sands National Monument

In honor of our recently released Spirit of the Dunes color palette, we’re sharing an itinerary for the White Sands National Monument. Like many of our owners, we have fond memories of this shining New Mexican desert. It contains the world’s largest gypsum dune fields—and is perhaps one of the country’s most underrated public lands. Not only is it magical to see, but the fact it exists is nothing short of miraculous. Gypsum is easily washed away by rain, but the Monument’s unique topography and dry climate keep the white waves of sand pristine.

Start at the visitor center (a pueblo-adobe structure built in the 1930s) where you can explore the native plant garden and discover the interactive museum. Be sure to fill up your water while you’re here, because there’s none available out in the dunes. From the center, enjoy a scenic drive to the heart of the dunes. If you can, try to be at the dunes for a sunset and a sunrise: the interplay between color and land is different, but both dawn and dusk are phenomenal. Insta-worthy? We think so.

Then, stop for breakfast (or lunch!) in your Bowlus Road Chief. The galley is complete with dual burners, stainless steel countertops, a microwave that is operational even when off grid and an incredibly efficient 12V fridge that allows you to extend your off grid time. It’s always a good time for a picnic when you have a Road Chief. When you’re ready for an adventure, go sand tubing. Waxed plastic snow saucers work well and can be purchased at the visitor center.

There are many hikes among the dunes, including some ranger-led programs through which you can learn about the remarkable ecosystem of White Sands. Once a month, a ranger will lead a tour through Lake Lucero. The “birthplace” of the dunes, the lake bed is actually a huge swath of selenite crystals, which play a critical role in creating the shining gypsum sand. You can camp just outside the park at Lake Holloman. Alternatively, Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is a thirty-minute drive and features scenic views, hiking and historical exhibits.

Shine on,
Geneva Long
Bowlus Road Chief

The Adventure Newsletter. Subscribe for Bowlus Road Chief news and more.